Work at new Maseru hospital begins

Work at new Maseru hospital begins

MASERU-WORK to build a new Maseru District Hospital at the site where the old Queen Elizabeth II Hospital was built officially began yesterday.
The new hospital will be built at a cost of M800 million by a Chinese firm Shanghai Construction Company.

Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro told the nation at the launch that the Maseru District Hospital and Eye Clinic will open its doors for patients in 2023.
Majoro said the hospital will operate like a national referral hospital by accepting other patients from Queen ’Mamohato Memorial Hospital (QMMH).

“Its existence will reduce overcrowding at QMMH,” Majoro said.
Queen ’Mamohato Memorial Hospital will however remain Lesotho’s national referral hospital.
The new hospital will focus on HIV, non-communicable diseases, cancer, TB, eye-care and children’s illnesses.
It will also have doctors’ residences, telemedicine teaching equipment and will offer internship and practicals programmes for students.
The hospital will have 200 beds.

Majoro said the hospital will still be managed by the Ministry of Health. The bulk of workers are currently working at Sebaboleng.
However, he said the hospital will also be manned by a Chinese medical team.
He also said the ministry plans to train another 20 employees in administration.
“I am thankful for the massive job to be done and I hope the government plans to have more health services started and I assure you we will witness construction of health centres in communities soon,” he said.

He commended all people that made the project a success and the Chinese Ambassador for “his effective and professional representation of his country in Lesotho”.
“It has been a difficult journey marked by disputes but in the end, an agreement was reached for the public’s benefit.”
Chinese Ambassador Lei Kezhong said the construction of the hospital is yet another demonstration of the bilateral cooperation between Lesotho and China.

He said the hospital will provide better housing care, a more complete public health system, advanced medical health services to the patients and improve the livelihood of all Basotho.
He said the two countries have been supporting each other with concrete actions over the past decades.

Kezhong said the Chinese and Maseru hospitals will form a strong partnership in providing better medical services.
“Our relationship is one of mutual respect, equality and neutral benefits and non-interference in the internal affairs of each other,” he said.
Minister of Health Semano Sekatle said they were delighted to accept the Chinese offer.

He said Queen II, as the hospital is known, has a ‘very rich’ history.
He said its demolition has provided them with a learning curve.
“It has given us (government and cabinet) an opportunity to learn that whenever we embark in policy decisions, we should think deeply and assess all the implications,” Sekatle said.

He added that it was also a learning curve and opportunity for university lecturers and the World Bank “to think properly what advice they give the government”.
“Let’s learn from this process,” he said.
He said the advent of Tšepong (Queen ’Mamohato Memorial Hospital) has been an eye-opener if they are to avoid repeating the mistakes that were made.

“We are extremely delighted and very grateful to the Chinese people for supporting us,” Sekatle said.
He appealed to the Ambassador to “ensure that contractors maintain standards and build in accordance with the best quality that Basotho deserve”.
“We expect the best as built in China,” he said.

Development Planning Minister Selibe Mochoboroane said the two countries’ relations and cooperation were highly applauded.
“It comes very far and has yielded tangible development results,” he said listing some of the projects built by the Chinese (parliament, new State House and ’Manthabiseng Convention Centre).

He said although they had implementation challenges on their ongoing FOCAC projects due to Covid-19, “it enabled us to identify shortfalls and I do not hesitate to pronounce that for the subsequent cycles, the grounds are well levelled for their implementation”.
Mochoboroane said his ministry will monitor implementation of this project.

“We want to ensure adherence to agreed deliverables and outputs,” he said.
He further said coordination for problem solving will be the major role played by relevant stakeholders, planning, public works, health and the construction company.
“Reports will be published in every three months to inform the public on progress made,” he said.

’Mapule Motsopa

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